That was quite the hurricane that made landfall in Louisiana and Texas last night and earlier today. How strong was it? CNN reported that Hurricane Laura ripped through Louisiana and far-eastern Texas including Beaumont and Port Arthur and tearing off roofs while knocking out power for hundreds of thousands after first roaring ashore as a Category 4 storm. Winds were still blowing at 110 mph after making landfall.

Our hearts are with those that have suffered a loss or are dealing with the significant destruction of property that is left in the aftermath. Once the hurricane has passed and you and your family are all safe, what are the next steps?

Once daylight breaks and the power has been turned back on you can begin the process of entering the home and taking note of the damage. Taking photos with your phone or a camera will be important when filing insurance claims so you need to have one handy.

Don’t forget to wear protective clothing such as electrical hazard boots, waterproof gloves and a hard hat or head protection in case of falling debris. Watch out for standing water, which can be very dangerous if its submerged and could still be carrying an electrical charge. Contact your local utility company if you think that this is the case. If your home experienced flooding, you can expect water damage, it may have made its way behind your siding, your insulation and your walls leading to mold and rot.

Next, you should check for gas leaks, which has a distinctive smell. If you notice a smell of gas leave your house immediately, walking far away from your home and call your utility company. It’s very important to not light a match or turn on lights or appliances as they could ignite and cause a fire.

Once you’ve taken an inventory of the damage on the inside you can move to the outside of the home. It’s better to bring a friend along to check out your house and yard. If you have a set of binoculars or a good camera you should bring it along. Check the roof and shingles, chimney and chimney flashing, siding and windows. If flying tree branches or debris made contact with the house, you should inspect the roof and siding in detail. It might not be obvious the extent of the damage at first glance. The chimney flashing that wraps around the base of the chimney prevents water from entering the home.  You’ll be able to spot spalled and cracked bricks but it might be harder to notice missing chimney flashing from the ground.

If you feel comfortable you can go up on a ladder and look yourself. But if you would like the advice of a professional call Professional Chimney Services at 281-491-0433. Professional Chimney Services is at your service to inspect and repair chimney and fireplace. With more than 20 years experience cleaning and repairing chimneys and fireplaces, we’ll be able to provide you with a range of solutions. PCS knows chimneys and fireplaces, let’s get yours looking right!